The Tailored Shirt #8: Collar Attachment

You’ll recall last time, I successfully made a collar and attached it to the neckband. Now the neckband gets sewn onto the shirt.

And this is where things go off the rails.

First, you pin the neckband to the shirt neckline, right sides matching:



The two pieces are unequal lengths – the neckband is the longer of the two, and so the two pieces need to be eased together.

I couldn’t understand why Pam Howard stitched the seam with the neckband facing up. Because it’s the longer of the two, I figured you want it against the feed dogs so the machine will help ease the seam. So I ignore her and did it my way.

My attempts at easing the seam produced a pucker in the middle of the outside neckband.


And sewing this way, with the neckband facing the feed dogs, the very edge of the inner facing got caught up in the stitch.  Here’s the edge of the inner facing, after I pulled those stitches and re-did them.  You’ll notice the edge of the inner facing is still separate from the rest of the outer facing that’s attached to the shirt.




Another thing Pam Howard emphasized in the class was getting the ends of the neckband perfectly aligned with the edges of the bands on the shirt fronts.  Oh, how I wish I listened to this one. Not only do you need to get the edges flush, but you have to make sure the seam line for the outer facing is about the same height as the fold on the inner facing.  Here’s my major failure:


Instead of trying to fix it somehow, I fudged it and moved on.  That was a bigger mistake.

Anyway, I trimmed the seams and pinned down the inner facing so I could seal; the whole thing shut.  Pam Howard (and the pattern directions) have you sew this inner facing shut with a hand stitch.  Screw that noise: I edge-stitched around the entire neckband facing by machine.


Well, the edgestitching didn’t go so well.  The machine got caught on the bulk of the neckband corner, and give me a nice bird’s nest of thread visible on the outside of the shirt:


And the edgestitching didn’t cover the neckband seam in places:


And the easing of the neckband and shirt didn’t go so well, which produced a pucker in the inside of the neckband:


Finally….remember when I decided to fudge the mis-matched neckband seam rather than restitch it so inside matched out?  Well, I got this beautiful effect on the outside of the shirt:


What will I do differently next time?  Here’s my list:

  • Use lighter interfacing, so the seams and corners of the neckbands won’t be so bumpy and hard to feed through the machine.
  • Pay careful attention to the seam alignment when attaching the neckband seam, and stitch with the neckband facing up rather than down.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get the easing to work, though.
  • DON’T use the edgestitching foot when edgestitching the neckband.  I can edgestitch well enough by myself, and there were places when the edge guide of the foot caught on seams and caused feed problems. which showed up as uneven stitches.
  • Work harder at taut sewing, which would have avoided the puckers.
  • And last, hand-stitching the neckband before edgestitching would have provided proper basting first.

Finally, though I was not supposed to backstitch at beginning/end of the edgestitching, I forgot to pull the threads through the middle of the neckband when I ended the seam.  Ooops.

Still, if you look at it from a distance, it came out okay.  I considered pulling all the stitches and redoing it, but I’m going to accept it for what it is and resolve to do better on the next shirt. The point of this exercise is learning, not absolute perfection.


2 thoughts on “The Tailored Shirt #8: Collar Attachment

  1. John Yingling

    You had problems sewing the collar stand to the neckline, saying that you had to ease the band to the neckline seam. In my opinion, the neckline should be exactly the same length as the stand, and you should have notches on the stand that match center back and shoulder seams. And yes , you should sew with the stand up and neck edge below, that way you can get the front edges flush. Also when topstitching at the corner front edge, you might try hand cranking the hand wheel of your machine to avoid getting a birds nest at the start. John Yingling

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